A27 Arundel Bypass: Hundreds of campaigners join demonstration

Campaigners in their hundreds joined a demonstration against proposals for an Arundel Bypass.

National Highways unveiled updated proposals earlier this month, as it began an eight-week consultation with the public.

The developers said the plans for upgrading the A27 at Arundel will feature a ‘combination of improvements’ along the existing road through the South Downs National Park and Arundel.

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Despite some support for the proposal, Walberton residents have suggested that The Street and West Walberton Lane will be unable to cope with the extra level of traffic — 42 per cent and 27 per cent respectively — brought in by the bypass.

On Sunday (January 23), more than 400 people demonstrated their strength of feeling against the proposed bypass route by taking part in a community photo shoot on Walberton Recreation Ground.

The event was organised by the Stop the Arundel Bypass (SAB) Alliance. A drone was used to capture the numbers of people who turned up.

Sally Ward, who set the event up, said she was ‘delighted by the turnout’.

A SAB Alliance spokesperson added: "As the National Highways consultation process continues, residents of Arundel, Tortington, Ford, Binsted, Walberton and Fontwell are becoming angry at the lack of clarity and consistency in National Highways’ answers to their questions.

A drone was used to capture the numbers of people who turned up to the demonstration at Walberton Recreation Ground. Photo: SAB Alliance

"People have turned up in their droves to the different consultation events to date and many have left frustrated, some almost in tears, when faced with the scale of National Highways’ proposals.

"It is obvious to villagers that the proposed route has not been designed with the needs of local communities in mind."

The grey route features new bridges spanning the River Arun, over the Arun Valley Railway and over Binsted Rife, as well as a new junction at Crossbush, ‘finally putting an end’ to the ‘road to nowhere’ junction.

Andrew Jackson, senior project manager at National Highways, said the A27 Arundel Bypass project team took the grey route, which was decided in October 2020, and 'improved, refined and developed' that design to 'make sure it is the best possible route'.

Campaigners have argued that the financial and environmental costs of the road 'don’t stack up'. Photo: SAB Alliance

He said: "We have got it to a good point where it is appropriate that we share that with the public.

"We are seeking as much as possible views back from the public on this route and design. How it affects individual people and properties so we can try and refine it so we can do the best possible for everybody."

However, campaigners have argued that the financial and environmental costs of the road 'don’t stack up'.

The SAB spokesperson said: "The potential nine minutes saved on journey time across the Arun Valley makes no sense since that traffic will come to a grinding halt at new pinch points at Fontwell and Worthing.

Residents fear wildlife will also be affected by the bypass plans. Photo: SAB Alliance

"The complexity of accessing any new road layout is also a major concern for local people and businesses with fears that quiet village roads will become rat runs for drivers seeking to save time."

A local resident, who chose to remain anonymous 'more people are realising' the 'tremendous holes' in the arguments for the road.

They added: "We will plan more events to demonstrate the strength of opposition and to try and make the Government sit up and take notice – with COP26 agreements, levelling up promises, post Covid expenses and decreases in traffic on this road, what is the justification for it?"

Mr Jackson said the project team will take all views back into the design, which will be refined later in 2022.

"That will all feed towards our submission for an application to build this route," he said.

"There may be things we don't know. There may be better ways for us to do things."

More than 400 people demonstrated their strength of feeling against the proposed bypass route by taking part in a community photo shoot on Walberton Recreation Ground. Photo: SAB Alliance

Details on the proposals, document inspection locations and feedback forms will be available until the consultation ends on March 8 at https://a27arundelbypass.consultation.ai/.

Scroll to the top of the page to see a video flythrough of the updated proposals.

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Sally Ward (right), who set the event up, said she was ‘delighted by the turnout’. Photo: SAB Alliance